Rules and Interpretations


IFAF Football Rules and Interpretations have been designated as either administrative rules or conduct rules. Typically, administrative rules are those dealing with preparation for the contest. Conduct rules are those that have to do directly with the playing of the contest. Some administrative rules (as indicated) may be altered by the mutual consent of the competing teams. Others (as indicated) are unalterable. No conduct rule may be changed by mutual consent. All teams are required to conduct their competitive contests according to these rules.

Administrative rules that may be altered by mutual consent of the competing teams include

Some rules may be altered by game management without mutual consent of the opponents.

Some rules may be altered by game management without consent, but only if it is not feasible to meet the rule. Teams are encouraged to meet the standards specified by rule wherever possible.

Some administrative rules allow competitions to stipulate in their regulations what course of action is to be followed. (A national federation may decide the policy for all competitions under its jurisdiction.)

Other administrative rules may not be altered. The referee shall make a report to the appropriate authority if these rules are infringed

All other rules are conduct rules and may not be altered.


A rule interpretation, also known as an approved ruling (A.R.), is an official decision on a given statement of facts. It serves to illustrate the spirit and application of the rule.

The Football Code, which appears in the Official Football Rules and Interpretations, should be studied carefully so the accepted conduct and practices are understood by all persons associated with American football.

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Editor: Jim Briggs, BAFA/BAFRA Rules Committee